hardware jumps, software glitches

Honor, once a sub-brand of Chinese phone giant Huawei, has since operated on its own. It appeared at the end of 2020. So far, the dossier has been released World middle class Honor 50However, various difficulties have prevented the company from creating a real flagship smartphone in the West, since it became an independent company. It even went so far as to announce global pricing for Magic3 last August, however, the phone is only available in China.

That changes with this year’s Magic4 Pro, which will be available to pre-order in the UK from May 13 and ships on May 27 from £949.99. (Honor says there are currently no plans to roll out the phone in the US.) That’s the price at which the Honor phone competes directly with Samsung’s top-end phone. Galaxy S22 Plus Memory capacity 256 GB Google Pixel 6 ProI trust Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro. These are three great options for potential phone buyers, and they represent fierce competition for the latest Honor phones.

On paper, Magic4 Pro is a contender. Has three rear HD cameras, 100W wired fast charging, AND It supports 100W wireless charging as well as a large, bright color display with a fast refresh rate. But while I liked many of these features individually, Honor is trying to hold back the end of the deal.

From the front, the Honor Magic4 Pro looks like most other leading Android phones of 2022. It has a large 6.81-inch OLED display with 1312 x 2848 resolution, 1000 nits brightness and a rate of 120Hz maximum refresh rate. It becomes very bright, beautiful and colorful. There’s a pill-shaped hole in the top left for the 12MP selfie camera and 3D face unlock hardware, and about two-thirds of the screen is the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

Honor calls this “quad curved” screen, but it’s only curved on the right and left sides of the phone, and I hope it’s not curved at all. Sure, you can say the curves make the phone look more luxurious, and I had no problem accidentally touching its sides, as is the case with some curved-screen phones. But in the end I lost the sides of the app and the top and bottom of my films around the curved edges with very little benefit. The phone has an IP68 dust and water resistance rating which means you will have no problem using it in the rain.

Out of the box, the Magic4 Pro supports Android 12, but Honor only sticks to two years of Android updates and two years of security updates. By contrast, Samsung now offers up to four years of Android updates, and Google offers three (or five, if you include security updates), and Apple continues to release new iOS updates for Android. iPhone 6S 2015.

The screen curves around the left and right sides of the phone.

I don’t usually spend a lot of time talking about the biometric security options built into phones, but it’s worth mentioning the absolutely horrible time I spent setting up fingerprint unlock on the Magic4 Pro. During the initial setup, I encountered a software bug that repeatedly failed in my attempts to register my right fingerprint. Oddly enough, when I manually added three more fingerprints in the settings after the initial setup, I encountered no such issues. So I suspect the problem is software based and not the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 used by Honor on this phone.

The Magic4 Pro 3D’s face unlock feature is smoother, and when tested with the iPhone 12 Pro, it was a fraction of a second slower under ideal conditions. But when conditions were more difficult, such as when unlocking in a dark room, looking at an angle, or wearing a hat, Honor’s face unlock feature sometimes failed, and overall its implementation wasn’t as reliable as Apple’s.

Battery life with a 4600mAh cell is reliable, and a 100W fast-charging phone is more than that. An average of over five hours of screen time with the Honor Magic4 Pro and I regularly ended my day with over 40% charge. It took me a day of heavy use including half an hour of video calls and an hour and a half of phone use for bike routes until I saw the phone drop to zero towards 23 hours. When I performed the charging test, the 100W charger that Honor provided in the box did a great job. It reached 46% in just 15 minutes after being set to 0% (time to take a shower) and reached 100% just after half an hour.

Honor Magic4 Pro also has 100W wireless charging, which in my test charged the phone to 54% in just 15 minutes of charging and to 100% after 31 minutes. But I’d be surprised if a lot of people actually use this feature, because getting those speeds comes with buying a 100W wireless charging stand from Honor. AND The power supply unit is 100W separately (the power supply that comes with the wireless charging stand can only support 80W fast charging). Honor didn’t answer questions about the price of these two accessories, but I bet it won’t be cheap.

It’s a relatively large handset.

USB-C, no headphone jack.

Honor Magic UI 6 adds some cool features to Android 12, but for the most part I was frustrated with the bulge. For starters, the phone comes pre-installed with half a dozen third-party apps of questionable use, such as Booking.com, TrainPal, Trip.com, and WPS Office, as well as Honor’s own apps, such as Honor Store. and Honor Club. Elsewhere, I kept coming across supposedly useful shortcuts when I wasn’t looking for them. For example, the phone requires you to swipe up to get to the home screen after unlocking it. But if you start swiping down, a pop-up menu will open instead with links to the voice recorder and the calculator app, and you accidentally activated that shortcut with an annoying amount.

Another feature is the “Just Say to Me” dialing technology, which is designed to adjust the sound of the handset during calls so that it is inaudible to those around you. Honor claims that this feature works with “AI Directional Sound” technology, using the screen itself to transmit low and mid-frequency sounds, leaving the handset to handle the higher frequencies, reducing sound leakage. It sounds to my ears as altering the incoming EQ, reducing the volume of low frequencies that may still work. The catch is that it only works when the phone call volume is set to 60% or less. I recorded how I used it and it was really hard to hear the person on the other end of the call with the feature on but hard to tell exactly how much due to the fact that I had to turn the volume down to activate function .

In some cases, it was possible to change some of my annoyances with Honor. There’s a simple toggle to re-enter the standard Android app drawer (off by default), and SwiftKey can easily replace Gboard. Honor also forces you to disable background apps if you don’t think you’ll be using them by disabling the running app I was using to save time – but luckily you can manually exclude all or some apps of this behavior.

Hitting the camera is romance or hate.

But even as I adapted its software to my liking, using the Honor Magic UI didn’t often feel like using a £950 smartphone with the latest flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. The app drawer stutters a bit when I open it, sometimes the apps get confused and have to reload content when I quickly switch to them. These are small drawbacks, but considering how good mid-range phones are, it’s not great to see these things showing up on the premium flagship. Internally, the Magic4 Pro has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, putting it on par with the Pixel 6 Pro.

That brings us exactly to the Honor Magic4 Pro camera system, which is housed in the large circular camera bulge on the back of the phone. People I showed the phone to were split on the design, but I like how it describes what the rear camera is saying, rather than trying to make it look smaller. The Magic4 Pro has three rear cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera; 50 MP ultra-wide screen with 122° field of view; And a 64-megapixel telephoto lens with 3.5x optical zoom. It’s nice to see that Honor is deviating from the trend of producers combining a higher resolution main matrix and auxiliary cameras with a much lower resolution.

In practice, daylight photography is a good thing as most smartphone makers are doing it in 2022. The Honora setting tends to prioritize strong colors and sharp edges, but with a well-equipped sensor, it has enough detail to work with that I think the effect works. It even treats faces really well, making my skin look natural and not too light. High-resolution sensors behind the ultra-wide-angle and telephoto lenses mean performance continues for the auxiliary cameras. In cases where other phones’ cameras may be grainy or lacking in detail, Honor Photos retain the same level of quality.

Less impressed with low light performance as I tried to get the same amount of detail from the Honor Magic4 Pro. It did a good job with color accuracy, and at first glance I was impressed with the lack of visual noise. But if you look closely, Honor seems to be trying to soften the grain of the film as much as possible and can make your photos look like soft watercolors when you look at it. Switch to ultra-wide or telephoto cameras, performance is about the same as the main camera, which is really good considering the reduced performance you often get from assist cameras on other phones.

I had to tweak a bit before setting the phone to my liking.

Honor only promises two years of updates.

Honor has done a good job identifying the Magic4 Pro hardware. Its cameras are high-res, it loads blazingly fast, its screen is gorgeous (despite its curved edges), and overall the hardware manages to get that high-end flagship figure going. If you want a phone that can wirelessly charge faster than many other phones over a wired connection, the Honor Magic4 Pro will happily deliver.

But I never had the experience of using Honor Magic4 Pro. Whether it’s the occasional software glitches, aggressive running of background apps, or a lock screen shortcut that often gets in your way, you often feel like you’re only wearing half a -pair of shoes. When a phone costs about as much as a Samsung or Apple flagship, you might find it fits better elsewhere.

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